How to Use Chatbots to Enhance Your Customers’ Experiences
The chatbot market is currently booming and is expected to be worth $1.25 billion by 2025. Roughly 45% of end-users in the global marketplace prefer chatbots as their primary mode of communication for customer service inquiries (Business Insider), and that number will only continue to grow in coming years. Like it or not, chatbots are here to stay. So, if you want to remain a competitive force in your field, you’ll want to use them to enhance your customers’ experiences.
What Exactly is a Chatbot?
Before implementing chatbots on the website you build, you’ll want to know exactly what they are first.
Chatbots are also known as “conversational agents,” and they interact with real people in real time. Chatbots are software applications created to mimic and understand human speech in written and spoken formats so that they can simulate real conversations with humans. They appear as web-based applications and as separate apps. They basically use programmed commands or machine learning technology to parse text or speech to respond to humans in human-like ways.
Check out this WordStream post to see some examples of real brands and organizations that are using chatbots in innovative ways.
How to Put Chatbots on Your Website
Luckily, extensive coding experience isn’t needed anymore if you want to use chatbots on the website you build. If you don’t have experienced website builders and coders readily available, you can use one of these platforms to build a chatbot for your website or application.
View this detailed comparative table of 25 of the most popular chatbot platforms (Chatbots Journal). And view this complete beginner’s guide to chatbots for more information on how to get started (Chatbots Magazine).
How to Enhance Your Customers’ Experience with Chatbots
So, now that you know more about what chatbots are and how to implement one, you’ll need to know how you can use them to enhance your customers’ experiences.
Be the Welcome Wagon
When visitors land on your website page, welcome them with an automated chatbot message. Have the chatbot say hello to them after they’ve been on your website for a few seconds and offer to assist them at any point should they need help.
You can also highlight new features or content on your site that both repeat and new visitors would want to know about in your welcome message. For instance, you could have a welcome message that says, “Hi there! Let me know if you need anything while you’re exploring our website. And don’t forget to check out our new features column to see some of our customers’ favorites.”
Another great way to keep new visitors on your website longer is to offer them a virtual tour in your welcome chatbot message. Offer a link that visitors can click on to explore the features and content on your site that would be useful to them, such as where they can log in, how they can purchase products, or where your frequently asked questions (FAQs) are published. Remember to keep all the content in your welcome message as optional to view, however. If you require visitors to click on things before they can look at your website, they’re much more likely to abandon it.
Offer a Personalized Experience
One of the best ways to enhance your customers’ experiences with chatbots is to offer them personalized experiences. When visitors complete an action on your website or app, send them relevant information that will appeal to them and help them make a decision or enhance their experience on your website via chatbots.
For instance, if a customer clicks on a certain product, offer them more information about how they can view similar products or how they can save money on shipping once they place their order. You could suggest they submit an inquiry via chat if they have questions about your products or services at any time. Or, if a website visitor is reading a lot of your blog posts, have a chatbot tell them how they can view similar content and subscribe to posts or download a relevant e-book.
When implemented this way, chatbots offer relevant information to your website visitors exactly when they need it. This will give them a positive view of your brand, while increasing the likelihood that they’ll buy from you, subscribe to your email list, etc.
Provide Immediate Assistance and Answer Questions
65% of consumers prefer using a messaging app when contacting a business (Oracle). No one likes to wait on hold on the phone or wait until regular business hours if they have a question or concern they need answered at a time that is more convenient for them.
Allow customers to submit questions and concerns to a chatbot, where they will get a response right away. Even if a customer has a unique inquiry that the chatbot isn’t programmed to answer, the chatbot will at least be able to tell them that their inquiry has been received and someone will be with them as soon as possible. With chatbots, you don’t have to keep your customers waiting anymore, which makes them happier, and your life a lot easier too. You’ll especially want to implement chatbots for customers who have concerns about their billing or user accounts, so they don’t feel neglected.
Use Push Notifications to Share Relevant and Timely Information
In addition to offering your customers personalized experiences, you can use chatbots to send them push notifications with timely information they’ll want to know about. For instance, you can send notifications to your visitors about flash sales that won’t last long, holiday deals, new products you have in stock that are like some of their past purchases, and more. You may also want to remind them of abandoned carts and forms they didn’t complete while they were on your website.
Your visitors will be more likely to buy the products they’re looking at on your website if they’re notified of a sale that’s going on while they’re there. And, they’ll appreciate special offers tailored to their interests at the exact moment they were thinking of purchasing something.
Implement Conversational Commerce
50% of consumers claim they would like to make a purchase through a messaging app (Oracle) because it’s convenient and easy for them. So, if you have built an e-commerce website or sell things via your website, consider implementing a chatbot that allows customers to place and complete orders.
For instance, customers can ask your chatbot for product recommendations as if they’re having a conversation with a friend. Then, your chatbot can send them personalized recommendations and give them the option to place an order via the messaging app if they see what they like. This way, customers won’t have to click outside the chatbot window to complete their transactions.
If you want to keep a competitive web presence with happy customers and site visitors in 2018, consider enhancing your website with chatbots.